Kate Bucca is pursuing her MFA at Vermont College of Fine Arts, where she serves as a reader for Hunger Mountain and was the 2016-17 Vermont Book Award Fellow. She is the author of Companion Plants (Fomite, 2014) and an intern at the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency, where she reviews manuscripts. Her work has appeared in Limestone, The Nervous Breakdown, DigBoston, The Manifest-Station, Pithead Chapel, and elsewhere. She lives in the Mad River Valley with essayist Dominic Bucca and their 17-pound cat, Snack.

Also by Kate Bucca: Unnamed DSM-5 295.70 Professor

Kate Bucca

Plainfield, Vermont

— for W.E. Butts I counted the stars in fistfuls, cool New England clarity, allowing my eyes to blur — as if by not seeing I'd see more — looking for the picture lost in the picture. Light streaked across the sky, smoldering space. A meteor is only a meteor when it begins to burn — the light is the naming. * Abnormal cells dividing claimed you — a constellation of disease tunneling through lungs, soft tissue. Too late, a new treatment appears on the horizon: clusters of gold atoms exploded through the bloodstream congregate around tumors; infrared light excites the particles to incinerate the cancer cells. * I counted the stars in fistfuls because I couldn't bear to be inside — but even the expanse of firmament wasn't vast enough to hold my grief. Another meteor attempted the descent into our atmosphere. If the stars survive, maybe you are standing, somewhere, formed again of dust, watching a streak of light stitch across your own sky.

The late poet Walter Butts was a dear writing mentor to me while I earned my BFA at Goddard College. When I returned for a visit to Goddard's campus in Plainfield, I found myself overwhelmed by memories of him. Everywhere I looked, there he seemed to be. As an atheist, about the only concept of an afterlife I find credible and comforting is the knowledge that we're all star dust and return to the universe as particles. I like to think of Walter playing pool and writing poems somewhere out amongst the stars.

Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published monthly by Glass Poetry Press.
All contents © the author.